The BlackBerry Storm 9500 is something of a departure for RIM, and not just because it's the first touchscreen BlackBerry. It's also a handset that has been jointly designed by its customers - the mobile phone operators Verizon and Vodafone.

BlackBerry Storm 9500: Photos and video

The BlackBerry Storm 9500's camera - a step up from previous BlackBerry handsets which came with a 2Mp camera - has both a zoom and a flash. We also like the fact that you can rename files on the fly and instantly send them to a contact. Again, this isn't the first BlackBerry with this facility, but it's worth having.

What's different about using the camera is that the zoom must be operated using the hardware volume keys on the righthand edge of the handset. However, you can zoom in incrementally with quite a lot of control and the sensor is able to work out which is the main subject of your shot and optimise its operations around this. Taking a snap isn't an instantaneous process, however. If you want a snapshot cameraphone, try a Sony Cyber-shot instead.

Video is worth trying too. The BlackBerry Storm 9500's excellent vibrant and detailed screen lends itself to video playback - the sample videos we were given to test this feature were glamorous film trailers, but we activated the YouTube application and imported some footage of our own to see how a more average video clip would look.

The fairly ropey wildlife clip we tried (a recommended clip on our iPhone) was full of artefacts, but we ran the clip on the Storm alongside the T-Mobile Android G1 and was noticeably brighter on the Storm. Part of this may well be because the Storm has a glass screen rather than a plastic one (as on the G1), but we know which we'd sooner use to view video.

NEXT PAGE: web browsing >>